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Science. Influenza and the Live Poultry Trade

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  • Science. Influenza and the Live Poultry Trade

    [Source: Science, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

    <CITE><ABBR>Science</ABBR> 18 April 2014: Vol. 344 no. 6181 p. 235 / DOI: 10.1126/science.1254664 / </CITE>Editorial

    Influenza and the Live Poultry Trade

    George F. Gao

    Author Affiliations: George F. Gao is director of the CAS Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology at the Institute for Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing; vice president of the Beijing Institutes of Life Science, Beijing; president of the Chinese Society for Virology, Beijing; and deputy director general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing.



    Live poultry trade at local markets has long been a part of China's national identity. From small villages to big cities, the gathering and selling of different birds in this vibrant atmosphere is at the heart of the country's cuisine culture. Unfortunately, the backdrop to this tradition has changed. Last year, the H7N9 virus, a new strain of influenza A, jumped from birds to humans, causing 144 cases of human infection and 47 deaths in China. Now a second wave of this flu is coursing through the country, with 258 confirmed cases and 99 deaths as of 8 April 2014. Scientific evidence points to a connection between the conditions at these live markets and the spread of flu, suggesting that until other means are found to prevent the transmission of or effectively treat the illness, China must shut down live poultry markets to prevent further spread of the virus and a possible global pandemic.